Two related, simple real estate transactions made by Tom Reed before he became Corning’s Mayor turned out to be anything but routine. Reed’s actions raises questions of the ethicality, and maybe even the legality, of the transactions. Although these events happened seven and five years ago, the constituents of the NY 23rd should have a full picture of the person who represents us in congress, and is asking us to re-elect him.
Mack Road runs through rural Steuben County in the Town of Tuscarora, south of Corning and close to the Pennsylvania border. There are only four properties in the Tuscarora portion of Mack Road. Harold “Bud” Dailey bought one of those properties, a parcel of 107 acres of forest, in 1999. Dailey was owner of Bud Dailey Construction Company, a popular long-time public servant, and the Chairman of a power City of Corning board. Three years after he purchased the land, Dailey transferred ownership of the property to his son, Kevin. A seasonal hunting cabin was built on the property in 2004.
Corning Attorney Tom Reed announced that he was going to run for Mayor of Corning on June 6, 2007. Six weeks later he purchased the Mack Road forest property from Kevin Dailey for $45,369.61. The land and cabin had assessed value of $3,500.
According to Steuben County records the deed was notarized by Julie Dailey, Kevin’s mother and Bud’s wife, on July 21, 2007. It was filed with the Steuben County Clerk on July 25, 2008—more than a year after Reed purchased the land!
At the time of the land purchase, Bud Dailey was the Chair of Corning’s Board of Assessment Review. The Board rules when property owners appeal their property value assessment. The Board has the power to reduce the assessments, which affects the amount of taxes they pay. This is a powerful position.
Dailey endorsed Reed and began to campaign with him. Realizing this, Mayor Frank Coccho did not reappoint Dailey to that Board. Reed defeated Coccho in November 2007. At his first meeting as Mayor, Reed re-appointed Dailey to the Board of Assessment Review.
On July 1, 2009, Mayor Reed announced that he was going to run for Congress. On July 30, Reed returned the Mack Road Property, 107 acres and the hunting cabin to Jillian Dailey, sister of Kevin, and daughter of Bud and Julie. He GAVE it to her; she PAID NOTHING for it. Reed even paid the fees!
Let’s summarized—Tom Reed gave the Dailey family $45,369.61 in June, 2007 and received 2 years use of the 107 acre forest parcel with a seasonal cabin. He also received the endorsement of a contractor, business owner, and popular powerful public servant.
We have to wonder:
Why was the deed not filed with the County Clerk for more than a year? The reason that comes to mind is that he wanted to hide the transaction. Then the question…What was he trying to hide?
Why did he give the property back to the Dailey family? Did he ever use the property at all?
How did Bud Dailey helped Reed during and after the campaign?
Digging Deeper—Rep. Reed’s Federal Disclosure Statement as a candidate (from January 1, 2009 to April 1, 2010) did not list the Tuscarora property as an asset, although he had owned the property until July 30, 2009. The funny things is, he did list it in his statements for Calendar Years 2010 and 2011, although he did not own the property during that time.
After talking with real estate agents and the local County Clerk, I am pretty well convinced by that it is not illegal to delay filing a deed transfer with the County Clerk. They don’t recommend it, but it is not illegal.
These events should tell us a lot about Rep. Reed’s character. They have the appearance of misconduct, possibility bordering on corruption. I know that the art of politics is to do what you can to 1) get into power and 2) stay in power and Reed is good at politics. He gets his power by helping the wealthy get wealthier, not by helping the working people of our district. We don’t need to accept a representative like Tom Reed.
What a welcome relief it would be to have a representative who has scruples, who cares for the constituents, and has a record of solving problems. We can have that representative by electing Martha Robertson on November 4.